Confession: Lately it seems like all I am doing in the kitchen is copying others. The ideas just aren’t flowing. I’ve adapted recipes… but haven’t been really inventing my own lately.
But tonight, I actually made something original.
About 2 weeks ago, my father-in-law mentioned that he was growing banana peppers in his garden. I got immediately excited, because I love all peppers, but then I thought, “What will I do with banana peppers now that I don’t eat sandwiches???”
I got this idea of baking them with meat, and then I got the idea for stuffing them with sausage… and it just sort of evolved from there. So today I bring you Stuffed Banana Peppers!
Sausage-Stuffed Banana Peppers
(serves 2-3 people)
Since I have gone to a more Paleo lifestyle, I have missed some of the more comforting Italian foods, like baked spaghetti and lasagna. I think that is what inspired this meal. This could probably be varied and turned into stuffed tomatoes, stuffed bell peppers, or stuffed zucchinis. There are definitely other possibilities!
- 5-6 large banana peppers
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage, casings removed (I used mild but I actually think HOT would be better)
- chopped yellow onion and bell pepper (I used frozen just because I had some—but if you are using fresh I would say 3/4 of an onion chopped, and 1/2 of a pepper chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 1 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- fresh or dried basil and oregano
- shredded parmesan cheese (you can omit this if you are strictly Paleo)
Bring 5-6 cups of salted water to boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, cut the tops off the banana peppers and remove the “insides” or seeds. (I used a spoon to do this.) When the water boils, drop the peppers in. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the boiling water and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the sausage with 1/2 of the onion (1/4 is reserved for later), the chopped pepper, 1 clove of garlic, basil, and oregano. (Add whatever amounts you like of the herbs. I start with 1-2 Tbsp chopped if it is fresh or 1/4-1/2 if it is dried.) When the sausage is browned, and the veggies are tender, you can turn off the heat and set aside.
Next, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the EVOO until hot. Add the remaining onion, garlic clove, and herbs. (Add as much or as little basil and oregano as you like.) Add the can of tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes.
Assemble the dish. Stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture*. Be careful not to rip the peppers, but if you do, it will be ok.
Lay stuffed peppers in a baking dish. Once all peppers are stuffed, pour the sauce over the peppers.
Top with parmesan, and bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.
*Note: I had a little extra meat left over that I saved for another meal. It really depends on how large the peppers are and how many you are stuffing.
This is one of the more complicated dishes I have made, in that I had to get 3 pots dirty and it took longer than 20 minutes. But it really wasn’t that complicated. ;) We thought it was tasty! If you try it out, let me know what you think!